[unrev-II] Education and OHS (was Re:Poetry and Knowledge Management)

From: Paul Fernhout (pdfernhout@kurtz-fernhout.com)
Date: Sun Oct 29 2000 - 08:29:33 PST

  • Next message: Rod Welch: "[unrev-II] Poetry and Knowledge Management"

    Henry van Eyken wrote:

    > Don't get me going on education, Paul!


    > But I am happy to say there are people doing wonderful jobs
    > of instructing the young.

    Agreed! And I was blessed with learning from several of them myself.
    The dedication of many teachers despite obstables is incredible.

    For another perspective from the trenches, there is a current Fast
    Company article on John Taylor Gatto.


    From the lead in on the article:
    > Brainpower is more important than
    > ever, but education seems more
    > backward than ever. John Taylor
    > Gatto, an award-winning teacher,
    > now aims to overthrow the
    > public-school establishment for
    > which he worked for 30 years.

    I found this sidebar from the article especially interesting:

    > John Taylor Gatto's most famous essay may well
    > be "The Seven-Lesson School Teacher" ( New
    > Society Publishers, 1992 ). In the essay, he
    > describes -- with considerable irony -- the real
    > lessons that he and other teachers impart to their
    > students.
    > Confusion. Schools attempt to teach too many
    > things. And they present most of those things out
    > of context, unrelated to everything else that's
    > being taught.
    > Class position. Students must stay in whatever
    > class they're assigned to and must "endure it like
    > good sports." From that, they learn how "to envy
    > and fear the better classes and how to have
    > contempt for the dumb classes."
    > Indifference. Children learn not to care about
    > anything too much. When the bell rings, they stop
    > whatever they've been working on and proceed
    > quickly to the next workstation. "They must turn
    > on and off like a light switch.... [T]he lesson of
    > bells is that no work is worth finishing."
    > Emotional dependency. "By stars and red checks,
    > smiles and frowns, prizes, honors, and disgraces,"
    > kids learn to surrender their will and to depend on
    > authority. Intellectual dependency. "Good
    > students wait for a teacher to tell them what to
    > do." Conformity triumphs, while curiosity has no
    > place of importance.
    > Provisional self-esteem. Self-respect depends on
    > expert opinion, measured down to a single
    > percentage point on tests, grades, and report
    > cards. Parents would be "surprised how little time
    > or reflection goes into making up these
    > mathematical records," but the system teaches
    > children to measure themselves based on "the
    > casual judgment of strangers."
    > Conspicuousness. Children are always under
    > surveillance, in the classroom and even beyond.
    > There are no private spaces for children and no
    > private time for them. "Changing classes lasts 300
    > seconds to keep promiscuous fraternization at low
    > levels." Teachers assign "a type of extended
    > schooling called 'homework,' too, so that the
    > surveillance travels into private households, where
    > students might otherwise use free time to learn
    > something unauthorized from a father or a mother
    > or by apprenticing to some wise person in the
    > neighborhood."

    Perhaps we should consider how Augment and OHS/DKR could play a role in
    improving the educational system...

    -Paul Fernhout
    Kurtz-Fernhout Software
    Developers of custom software and educational simulations
    Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator

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